I wanted to say a few words here about ‘keeping on an even keel’ and responding, rather than reacting, with a view to managing emotions and preventing stress. 

We’re exploring here how useful it can be If we can (learn to) just take a moment to pause – essentially between stimulus and response – when we encounter a real or perceived challenge, whatever form that might take. (For example: something or someone upsets us; we get feedback/a comment that could be construed as criticism; something doesn’t go to plan).

This will allow us to choose a ‘considered’ response, rather than to react in a way that can be unhelpful for us.

In this context, we’re referring to reacting emotionally – rather than rationally – which can lead to our getting stressed or anxious or angry at ourselves or the situation or other people. 

Instead of getting worked up and less able to think clearly and deal effectively with others/situations – as our emotions are getting in the way via the emotionally-based system in our brains – we’ll apply logic and reason in the way we’d ideally want to.

In a micro-second, we’ll be implicitly and unconsciously asking ourselves “If I were being calm and rational here, what would I do, say, be thinking, and therefore feeling ideally?”

So the next time a real or perceived challenge presents itself:

  • Take a moment to pause; take a breath; say ‘Respond’ or ‘Calm’, or another calming word in your mind
  • Then initiate the rationally-based system in your brain (involving the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex). Say to yourself: “Which mode do I want to be in here: which is helpful, rational or emotional?”

We’re then in a better position to respond rationally, rather than to react, which is liable to result in better outcomes.

The more we practice, the better we’ll get at this: programming in a helpful, rational automatic response to situations etc. to help keep us on an even keel.

Do get in touch if you’d like a word about the above.

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